New charging points for electric cars are set to appear across London under plans announced by the Mayor.

Electric vehicles offer a route to lower emissions in the city and reduce air pollution from diesel and petrol cars.

There are now 20,000 electric vehicles in London, but that number could rise to as many as 330,000 by 2025.

Speaking at the launch today (Monday, June 17), Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London’s air is so dirty and polluted that it amounts to nothing less than a serious public health crisis.

“It breaches legal limits and blights the lives of Londoners, resulting in thousands of premature deaths every year.

“We are also facing a climate emergency that threatens the long-term security and wellbeing of every Londoner.”

Under the plans, London will invest in five major electric charging hubs, allowing multiple vehicles to charge simultaneously. The first of these will be running in the Square Mile by the end of the year.

This year will also see a range of new rapid charging points capable of fully charging a car battery in half an hour. These will be installed at petrol stations and other locations across London.

Transport for London has invested £18 million in new charging points for electric vehicles. There are currently 180 rapid charging points across the city, with a target of 300 by 2020.

Two million Londoners, including 400,000 children, are living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution, according to the London Atmospheric Emission Inventory.

Air pollution is one part of the wider climate crisis – the Mayor declared a climate emergency in London in December last year, with Parliament following suit for the whole of the UK last month.

The Mayor said he wanted London to lead on cutting transport emissions, with a target for all new cars on the city’s streets to be zero-emission by 2030 – a decade before the Government’s target.

But Green assembly member Caroline Russell said the Mayor’s plans failed to address the wider problem of continuing car use.

She said: “Electric vehicles have long been heralded as a magic solution to clean up our air and cut carbon emissions – but they are still cars that cause congestion, road danger and particle pollution.

“We should still be prioritising people over new charging infrastructure. I have seen electric charging points bunged in all over the place, making pavements a slalom for people pushing prams or using wheelchairs.

“It’s important that new charging points go in, but we should be thinking about public purpose not simply car-dominated business as usual.”

Lib Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said the Mayor had failed to make plans for London’s bus system.

She said: “We cannot escape the fact that on the issue of electric buses London is lagging behind many other cities. As a proportion of London’s overall bus network the number electric buses remains a very small fraction."